So, Sweetness Follows has been out in the world for a while. People seem to like it so far. A lot of them are communicating this via telepathy rather than solid, actual Amazon reviews, but that’s okay. It’s 2017 now, and to be honest I’m just glad everyone isn’t dead.
I am now in the unique position (for me) of having all my books available in paperback format, which is cool. They’re quite expensive, compared to eBooks, yeah. And I make no money from them, due to shaving off my royalties to keep the price down (as well as ticking the box that gives you a free copy of the eBook with every purchase, not a discounted copy like Amazon suggests, COS I’M SO NICE). But they’re there, so there, there. The Boys of Summer is A HANDY POCKET SIZE TRIM, as Don Draper would put it. Or, ‘small’, as the rest of us would say. Sweetness Follows and Girl Afraid are much bigger, and I will take to my grave the reasons for why that is so.
More Than Words is in full swing – I flirted with the idea of doing a non-series book next, but you know me, I’d just get all bogged down and depressed and writer’s blocky and alcoholic and suicidal and start a relationship with someone who doesn’t believe in me and blame all of my artistic shortcomings on that fact and spend three years doing fuck all and wishing for the sweet embrace of death, so it’s best to just do Boys of Summer 3, innit?
This one is different in lots of ways. Firstly, the timeline jumps back to 1991. Because I do that time-jump thing a lot in the books themselves, so I thought it would be totes meta to do it with the order of the series. Or totes annoying, because if I know anything, it’s not how to gauge my readership. Also, it’s from a female POV, which should keep the feminists happy for about four seconds, until they have a mood swing and start attacking me for how unrealistic and sexist it is. THAT WAS A JOKE, LADIES. You remember jokes, right? Thirdly, it’s set in September, at the start of the school year, so we get the first Songs of Summer that’s not in the summer (in Ireland, I mean – our calendar is seasonally different to the UK and the USA, look it up) and the first one where the characters are in school, which is nostalgitastic to write.
The book is narrated by Marian (can’t say her surname, it’s literally a spoiler for another book, OR IS IT?), and even though she’s the same age as Jon was in Sweetness, she’s a lot more articulate than he, so this would probably be an easier entry level book for those who struggle with the vernacular and the grammar of the others. Except it isn’t, because you can’t start reading a book series at #3, you fools! You can’t even start this one at #2, apparently, or so I learned from someone’s comments the other day about the bad narrative grammar and the overly descriptive scene-setting dialogue buffers – MATE, THAT’S HOW I WRITE THESE, GET ON BOARD. So, despite all my efforts to keep Sweetness spoiler-free, I basically shouldn’t have bothered.
Sweetness Follows is an odd one, because The Boys of Summer has some characters in it who I used real people as templates for. But they weren’t exact representations. Sometimes I’d make someone look like one person, but be like another, etc. And I don’t think anyone reading it took those characters personally if they recognised themselves. Mainly because Richie resembles me so much, but my later drafts honed his narrative to always be pretty positive, relate-able, and sympathetic. But, with Sweetness, Jon has to be a) different to Richie in a lot of ways, so you don’t think you’re reading the same person’s mind (watch how he deals with women, or errant soccer balls, for example), and b) Jon is a bit of a dick. A dick who needs changing, and salvation, ergo the outlying theme of the book, and the D E E P E R meaning of the title. So, if you’re in the second book, prepared to be described in a slightly unflattering way.
The third book lets me take the Richie character (he’s like me, MEMBA????) and do amazing stuff with him, from someone else’s point of view – namely, the girl he loves. That’s the most interesting bit – stepping outside of myself and viewing romantic relationships of mine in the past both objectively, and subjectively from the other person’s POV. If you do that, and take out all your own self-pity and history rewrites, you not only have new found sympathy for whomever you were with back then, you also notice how much of an absolute nightmare you probably were to be around. Humbling stuff. STILL HER FAULT, THOUGH. MY MUM SAYS SO.
If you’re reading this and you’ve not bought Sweetness Follows yet, take your time, no pressure. If you’ve not read The Boys of Summer yet, that’s fine also. If you’ve not read any of my books, and you didn’t find today’s blog randomly on twitter or wordpress, and you came from my own Facebook where I only let my fr- LOOK, WHAT’S WRONG WITH YOU? WHY ARE YOU EVEN READING THIS NOW, SINCE YOU HATE ME SO MUCH? WILL I JUST GO SLIT MY WRISTS THEN? IS THAT WHAT YOU WANT? AAAAAAAGH, I JUST REMEMBERED PAUL DANIELS IS DEAD. WHY, WORLD? WHY ARE YOU SO CRUEL?
And so on, and so forth. Girl Afraid is free til the 7th, I think. Go download that, and make yourself ill.